Tag Archives: LVM

Migrate from Xenserver to Proxmox

I was dismayed to see Citrix’s recent announcement about Xenserver 7.3 removing several key features from the free version. Xenserver’s free features are the reason I switched over to them in the first place back in 2014. Xenserver has been rock solid; I haven’t had any complaints until now. Their removal of xenmotion and migration in the free version forced me to look elsewhere for my virtualization needs.

I’ve settled on ProxMox, which is KVM based. Their documentation is excellent and it has all the features I need – for free. I’m also in love with their web based management – no more Windows fat client!

Below are my notes on how I successfully migrated all my Xenserver VMs over to the ProxMox Virtual Environment (PVE).

  • Any changes to network interfaces, such as bringing them up, require a reboot of the host
  • If you have an existing ISO share, you can create a directory called  “template” in your ISO repository folder, then inside symlink “iso” back to your ISO folder. Proxmox looks inside template/iso for ISO images for whatever storage you configure.
  • Do not create your ProxMox host with ZFS unless you have tons of RAM. If you don’t have enough RAM you will run into huge CPU load times making the system unresponsive in cases of high disk load, such as VM copies / backups. More reading here.

Cluster of two:

ProxMox’s clustering is a bit different – better, in my opinion. No more master, slave dynamic – ever node is a master. Important reading: https://pve.proxmox.com/wiki/Proxmox_VE_4.x_Cluster

If you have two node cluster, like I do, it creates some problems, though. If one goes down, the other can’t do anything to the pool (create VM, backup) until it comes back up. In my situation I have one primary host that is up all the time and I bring the secondary host up only when I want to do maintenance on the first.

In that specific situation you can still designate a “master” of sorts by increasing the number of quorum votes it gets from 1 to 2.  That way when the secondary node is down, the primary node can still do cluster operations because the default number of votes to stay quorate is 2. See here for more reading on the subject.

On either host (they must both be up and in the cluster for this to work)

vi /etc/pve/corosync.conf

Find your primary server in the nodelist settings and change

quorum_votes: 2

Also find the quorum section and add expected_votes: 2

Make sure to increment config_version number (bottom of the file.) Now if your secondary is down you can still operate the primary.

Migrating VMs

I migrated my Xen VMs to KVM by creating VMs with identical specs in PVE, copying the VHD files from the Xen host to the new PVE host, running qemu-img to convert them to RAW format, and then using dd to copy the raw information over to corresponding empty VM  disks. Depending on the OS of the VM there was some after-copy tweaking I also had to do.

From shared storage

Grab the VHD file (quiesce any snapshots away first) of each xen VM and convert them to raw format

qemu-img convert <VHD_FILE_NAME>.vhd -O raw <RAW_FILE_NAME>.raw

Create a new VM with identical configuration, especially disk size. Go to the hardware tab and take note of the name of the disk. For example, one of mine was:


The interesting part is between local-zfs and discard=on, namely vm-100-disk-1. This is the name of the disk we want to overwrite with data from our Xenserver VM’s disk.

Next figure out the full path of this disk on your proxmox host

find / -name vm-100-disk-1*

The result in my case was /dev/zvol/rpool/data/vm-100-disk-1

Take the name and put it in the following command to complete the process:

dd if=<RAW_FILE_NAME>.raw of=/dev/zvol/rpool/data/vm-100-disk-1 bs=16M

Once that’s done you can delete your .vhd and .raw files.

From local / LVM storage

In case your Xen VMs are stored in LVM device format instead of a VHD file, get UUID of storage by doing xe vdi-list and finding the name of the hard disk from the VM you want. It’s helpful to rename the hard disks to something easy to spot. I chose the word migrate.

xe vdi-list|grep -B3 migrate
uuid ( RO) : a466ae1b-80c7-4ef2-91a3-5c1ba1f6fc2f
 name-label ( RW):  migrate

Once you have the UUID of the drive, you can use lvscan to find the full LVM device path of that disk:

lvscan|grep a466ae1b-80c7-4ef2-91a3-5c1ba1f6fc2f
 inactive '/dev/VG_XenStorage-1ada0a08-7e6d-a5b6-d0b4-515e251c0c75/VHD-a466ae1b-80c7-4ef2-91a3-5c1ba1f6fc2f' [10.03 GiB] inherit

Shut down the corresponding VM and reactivate its logical volume (xen deactivates LVMs if the VM is shut off:

lvchange -ay <full /dev/VG_XenStorage path discovered above>

Now that we have the full LVM path and the volume is active, we can use dd over SSH to transfer the image to our proxmox server:

sudo dd if=<full /dev/VG/Xenstorage path discovered above> | ssh <IP_OF_PROXMOX_SERVER> dd of=<LOCATION_ON_PROXMOX_THAT_HAS_ENOUGH_SPACE>/<NAME_OF_VDI_FILE>.vhd

then follow vhd -> raw -> dd to proxmox drive process described in the From Shared Storage section.

Post-Migration tweaks

For the most part Debian-based systems moved over perfectly without any needed tweaks; Some VMs changed interface names due to network device changes. eth0 turned into ens8. I had to modify /etc/network/interfaces to change eth0 to ens8 to get virtio networking working.


All my CentOS VMs failed to boot after migration due to a lack of virtio disk drivers in the initial RAM disk. The fix is to change the disk hardware to IDE mode (they boot fine this way) and then modify the initrd of each affected host:

sudo dracut --add-drivers "virtio_pci virtio_blk virtio_scsi virtio_net virtio_ring virtio" -f -v /boot/initramfs-`uname -r`.img `uname -r`
sudo sh -c "echo 'add_drivers+=\" virtio_pci virtio_blk virtio_scsi virtio_net virtio_ring virtio \"' >> /etc/dracut.conf"
sudo shutdown -h now

Once that’s done you can detach the hard disk and re-attach it back as SCSI (virtio) mode. Don’t forget to modify the options and change the boot order from ide0 to scsi0

Arch Linux

One of my Arch VMs had UUID configured which complicated things. The root device UUID changes in KVM virtio vs IDE mode. The easiest way to fix it is to boot this VM into an Arch install CD. Mount the root partition and then run arch-chroot /mnt/sda1. Once in the chroot runpacman -Sy kernel to reinstall the kernel and generate appropriate kernel modules.

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
arch-chroot /mnt
pacman -Sy kernel

Also make sure to modify /etc/fstab to reflect appropriate device id or UUID (xen used /dev/xvda1, kvm /dev/sda1)


Create your Windows VM using non-virtio drivers (default settings in PVE.) Obtain the latest windows virtio drivers here and extract them somewhere memorable. Switch everything but the disk over to Virtio in the VM’s hardware config and reboot the VM. Go into device manager and point to extracted driver location for each unknown device.

To get Virtio disk to work, add a new disk to the VM of any size and SCSI (virtio) type. Boot the Windows VM and install drivers for that drive. Then shut down, remove that second drive, detach the primary drive and change to virtio SCSI. It should then come up with full virtio drivers.

All hosts

KVM has a guest agent like xenserver does called qemu-agent. Turn it on in VM options and install qemu-guest-agent in your guest. This KVM a bit more insight into your host.

Determine which VMs need guest agent installed:

qm agent $id ping

If nothing is returned, it means qemu-agent is working. You can test all your VMs at once with this one-liner (change your starting and finishing VM IDs as appropriate)

for id in {100..114}; do echo $id; qm agent $id ping; done

This little one-liner will output the VM ID it’s trying to ping and will return any errors it finds. No errors means everything is working.

Disable support nag

PVE has a support model and will nag you at each login. If you don’t like this you can change it like so (the line number might be different depending on which version you’re running:

vi +850 /usr/share/pve-manager/js/pvemanagerlib.js

Modify the line if (data.status !== ‘Active’); change it to

if (false)


Remove a failed node

See here: https://pve.proxmox.com/wiki/Proxmox_VE_4.x_Cluster#Remove_a_cluster_node

systemctl stop pvestatd.service
systemctl stop pvedaemon.service
systemctl stop pve-cluster.service
rm -r /etc/corosync/*
rm -r /var/lib/pve-cluster/*

Quorum never establishes / takes forever

I had a really strange issue where I was able to establish quorum with a second node, but after a reboot quorum never happened again. I re-installed that second node and re-joined it several times but I never got past the “waiting for quorum….” stage.

After much research I came across this article which explained what was happening. Corosync uses multicast to establish cluster quorum. Many switches (including mine) have a feature called IGMP snooping, which, without an IGMP querier, essentially means multicast never happens. Sure enough, after logging into my switches and disabling IGMP snooping, quorum was instantly established. The article above says this is not recommended, but in my small home lab it hasn’t produced any ill effects. Your mileage may vary. You can also configure your cluster to use unicast instead.

USB Passthrough not working properly

With Xenserver I was able to pass through the USB controller of my host to the guest (a JMICRON USB to ATAATAPI bridge holding a 4 disk bay.) I ran into issues with PVE, though. Using the GUI to pass the USB device did not work. Manually adding PCI passthrough directives (hostpci0: 00:14.1) didn’t work. I finally found on a little nugget on the PCI Passthrough page about how you can simply pass the entire device and not the function like I had in Xenserver. So instead of doing hostpci0: 00:14.1, I simply did hostpci0: 00:14 . That  helped a little bit, but I was still unable to fully use these drives simultaneously.

My solution was eventually to abandon PCI passthrough altogether in favor of just passing individual disks to the guest as outlined here.

Find the ID of the desired disks by issuing ls -l /dev/disk/by-id. You only need to know the UUIDs of the disks, not the partitions. Then modify the KVM config of your desired host (mine was located at /etc/pve/qemu-server/101.conf) and a new line for each disk, adjusting scsi device numbers and UUIDs to match:

scsi5: /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_ST5000VN000-1H4_Z111111

With that direct disk access everything is working splendidly in my FreeNAS VM.

Rename LVM group in CentOS7

I recently made the discovery that all my VMs have the same volume group name – the default that is given when CentOS is installed. My OCD got the best of me and I set out to change these names to reflect the hostname. The problem is if you rename the volume group containing the root partition, the system will not boot.

The solution is to run a series of commands to get things updated. Thanks to the centOS forums for the information. In my case I had already made the mistake of renaming the group and ending up with an unbootable system. This is what you have to do to get it working again:

Boot into a Linux rescue shell (from the installer DVD, for example) and activate the volume groups (if not activated by default)

vgchange -ay

Mount the root and boot volumes (replace VG_NAME with name of your volume group and BOOT_PARTITION with the device name of your boot partition, typically sda1)

mount /dev/VG_NAME/root /mnt
mount /dev/BOOT_PARTITION /mnt/boot

Mount necessary system devices into our chroot:

mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc
mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev
mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys

Chroot into our broken system:

chroot /mnt/ /bin/bash

Modify fstab and grub files to reflect new volume group name:

sed -i /etc/fstab -e 's/OLD_VG_NAME/NEW_VG_NAME/g'
sed -i /etc/default/grub -e 's/OLD_VG_NAME/NEW_VG_NAME/g'
sed -i /boot/grub2/grub.cfg -e 's/OLD_VG_NAME/NEW_VG_NAME/g'

Run dracut to modify boot images:

dracut -f

Remove your recovery boot CD and reboot into your newly fixed VM


If you want to avoid having to boot into a recovery environment, do the following steps on the machine whose VG you want to rename:

Rename the volume group:


Modify necessary boot files to reflect the new name:

sed -i /etc/fstab -e 's/OLD_VG_NAME/NEW_VG_NAME/g'
sed -i /etc/default/grub -e 's/OLD_VG_NAME/NEW_VG_NAME/g'
sed -i /boot/grub2/grub.cfg -e 

Rebuild boot images:

dracut -f

Resizing LVM storage checklist

This is a short note of what to do when you change size of the physical disk an LVM setup, such as the default configuration in CentOS 7.

  1. Modify the physical disk size
  2. Modify the partition size
    1. I used fdisk to delete the partition, then re-create with a larger size
    2. Reboot
  3. Extend the physical volume size
    1. pvresize <path to enlarged partition>
  4. Extend the logical volume size
    1. lvextend <lv path> -l100%FREE
  5. Extend filesystem size
    1. resize2fs <lv path>
    2. #If you're running CentOS 7, the default filesystem is actually XFS, not ext4. In that case:
      xfs_growfs <lv path>
  6. Profit.

Configure iSCSI initiator in CentOS

Below are my notes for configuring a CentOS box to connect to an iSCSI target. This assumes you have already configured an iSCSI target on another machine / NAS. Much of this information comes thanks to this very helpful website.

Install the software package

yum -y install iscsi-initiator-utils

Configure the iqn name for the initiator

vi /etc/iscsi/initiatorname.iscsi

Edit the iSCSI initiator configuration

vi /etc/iscsi/iscsid.conf
node.startup = automatic
node.session.auth.authmethod = CHAP
node.session.auth.username = initiator_user
node.session.auth.password = initiator_pass
#The next two lines are for mutual CHAP authentication
node.session.auth.username_in = target_user
node.session.auth.password_in = target_password

Start iSCSI initiator daemon

/etc/init.d/iscsid start
chkconfig --levels 235 iscsid on

Discover targets in the iSCSI server:

iscsiadm --mode discovery -t sendtargets --portal the portal's IP address,1 iqn.2012-10.net.cpd:san.target01

Try to log in with the iSCSI LUN:

iscsiadm --mode node --targetname iqn.2012-10.net.cpd:san.target01 --portal --login
Logging in to [iface: default, target: iqn.2012-10.net.cpd:san.target01, portal:,3260] (multiple)
Login to [iface: default, target: iqn.2012-10.net.cpd:san.target01, portal:,3260] successful.

Verify configuration

This command shows what is put into the  iSCSI targets database  (the files located in /var/lib/iscsi/)

cat /var/lib/iscsi/send_targets/,3260/st_config
discovery.startup = manual
discovery.type = sendtargets
discovery.sendtargets.address =
discovery.sendtargets.port = 3260
discovery.sendtargets.auth.authmethod = None
discovery.sendtargets.timeo.login_timeout = 15
discovery.sendtargets.use_discoveryd = No
discovery.sendtargets.discoveryd_poll_inval = 30
discovery.sendtargets.reopen_max = 5
discovery.sendtargets.timeo.auth_timeout = 45
discovery.sendtargets.timeo.active_timeout = 30
discovery.sendtargets.iscsi.MaxRecvDataSegmentLength = 32768

Verify session is established

iscsiadm --mode session --op show
tcp: [2],1 iqn.2012-10.net.cpd:san.target01

Create LVM volume and mount

Add our iSCSI disk to a new LVM physical volume, volume group, and logical volume

fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sdb: 17.2 GB, 17171480576 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 16376 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000
Disk /dev/sdb doesn't contain a valid partition table
pvcreate /dev/sdb
vgcreate iSCSI /dev/sdb
lvcreate iSCSI -n volume_name -l100%FREE
mkfs.ext4 /dev/iSCSI/volume_name

Add the logical volume to fstab

Make sure to use the mount option _netdev.  Without this option, Linux will try to mount this device before it loads network support.

vi /etc/fstab
/dev/mapper/iSCSI-volume_name    /mnt   ext4   _netdev  0 0


Reclaim lost space in Xenserver 6.5

Storage XenMotion is awesome. It allows me to spin up a second Xenserver host and live migrate VMs to it whenever I need to do maintenance on my primary xenserver host. I don’t need an intermediary storage device such as a NAS – the two hosts can exchange live, running VMs directly. No downtime!

An unfortunate side effect of using Storage XenMotion is that sometimes it doesn’t clean itself up very well. It takes several snapshots in the migration process and they sometimes get “forgotten about.” This results in inexplicable low disk space errors such as this one:

The specified storage repository has insufficient space

..despite there being plenty of space.

This article explains how to use the coalesce option to reclaim space by issuing the following command:

xe host-call-plugin host-uuid=<host-UUID> plugin=coalesce-leaf fn=leaf-coalesce args:vm_uuid=<VM-UUID>

Unfortunately that didn’t seem to do anything for me. Digging into the storage underpinnings I can see that there are a lot of logical volumes hanging out there not being used:

xe vdi-list sr-uuid=<UUID of SR without space>

This revealed a lot of disks floating around in the SR that aren’t being used (I know this by looking at that same SR inside xencenter.) Curiously there is a VDI with identical names but with different UUIDs, despite my not having any snapshots of that VM.

I was about to start using the vgscan command to look for active volume groups when I got called away. Hours later, when I got back to my task, I found that all the space had been freed up. Xenserver had done its own garbage collection, albeit slowly. So, if you’ve tried to use xenmotion and found you have no space.. give xenserver some time. You might just find out that it will clean itself up.

Update 05/20/2015

I ran into this problem once more. I read from here that simply initiating a scan of the storage repository is all you need to do to reclaim lost space. Unfortunately when I ran that the scan nothing changed. A check of /var/log/SMlog revealed the following error (thanks to ap’s blog for the guidance)

SM: [30364] ***** sr_scan: EXCEPTION XenAPI.Failure, ['INTERNAL_ERROR', 'Db_exn.Uniqueness_constraint_violation("VDI", "uuid", "3e616c49-adee-44cc-ae94-914df0489803")']
Raising exception [40, The SR scan failed  [opterr=['INTERNAL_ERROR', 'Db_exn.Uniqueness_constraint_violation("VDI", "uuid", "3e616c49-adee-44cc-ae94-914df0489803")']]]

For some reason one of the ISOs in one of my SRs was throwing an error – specifically a Xenserver operating system fixup iso, which was causing the coalescing process to abort. I didn’t care if I lost that VDI so I nuked it:

xe vdi-destroy uuid="3e616c49-adee-44cc-ae94-914df0489803"

That got me a little father, but I still wasn’t seeing any free space. Further inspection of the log revealed this gem:

SMGC: [7088] No space to leaf-coalesce f8f8b129[VHD](20.000G/10.043G/20.047G|ao) (free
 space: 1904214016)

I read that if there isn’t enough space, a coalesce can’t happen on a running VM. I decided to shut down one of my VMs that was hogging space and run the scan again. This time there was progress in the logs. It took a while, but eventually my space was restored!

Moral of the story: if your server isn’t automatically coalescing to free up space, check /var/log/SMlog to see what’s causing it to choke.

FreeNAS on Xenserver with PVHVM support

In my current home setup I have a single server performing many functions thanks to Citrix Xenserver 6.2 and PCI Passthrough. This single box is my firewall, webservers, and NAS. My primary motivation for this is power savings – I didn’t want to have more than one box up 24/7 but still wanted all those separate services, some of which are software appliances that aren’t very customizable.

My current NAS setup is a simple Debian Wheezy virtual machine with the on-board SATA controller from the motherboard passed through to it. The VM runs a six drive software RAID 6 using mdadm and LVM volume management on top of it. Lately, though, I have become concerned with data integrity and my use of commodity drives. It prompted me to investigate ZFS as a replacement for my current setup. ZFS has many features, but the one I’m most interested in is its ability to detect and correct any and all corrupted files / blocks. This will put my mind at ease when it comes to the thousands of files that I have which are accessed infrequently.

I decided to try out FreeNAS, a NAS appliance which utilizes ZFS. After searching on forums it quickly became clear that the people at FreeNAS are not too keen on virtualizing their software. There is very little help to be had there in getting it to work in virtual environments. In the case of Xenserver, FreeNAS does work out of the box but it is considerably slower than bare metal due to its lack of support of Xen HVM drivers.

Fortunately, a friendly FreeNAS user posted a link to his blog outlining how he compiled FreeNAS to work with Xen. Since Xenserver uses Xen (it’s in the name, after all) I was able to use his re-compiled ISO (I was too lazy to compile my own) to test in Xenserver.

There are some bugs to get around to get this to work, though. Wired dad’s xenified FreeNAS doesn’t appear to like to boot in Xenserver, at least out of the box. It begins to boot but then hangs indefinitely on the following error:

run_interrupt_drive_hooks: still waiting after 60 seconds for xenbusb_nop_confighook_cb

This is the result of a bug in the version of qemu Xenserver uses. The bug causes BSD kernels to really not like the DVD virtual device in the VM and refuse to boot. The solution is to remove the virtual DVD drive. How, then, do you install FreeNAS without a DVD drive?

It turns out that all the FreeNAS installer does is extract an image file to your target drive. That file is an .xz file inside the ISO. To get wired dad’s FreeNAS Xen image to work in Xenserver, one must extract that .xz file from the ISO, expand it to an .img file, and then apply that .img file to the Xenserver virtual machine’s hard disk. The following commands can be run on the Xenserver host machine to accomplish this.

  1. Create a virtual machine with a 2GB hard drive.
  2. Mount the FreeNAS-xen ISO in loopback mode to get at the necessary file
    mkdir temp
    mount -o loop FreeNAS- temp/
  3. Extract the IMG file from the freeNAS ISO
    xzcat ~/temp/FreeNAS-x64.img.xz | dd of=FreeNAS_x64.img bs=64k

    Note that the IMG file is 2GB in size, which is larger than can sit in the root drive of a default install Xenserver. Make sure you extract this file somewhere that has enough space.

  4. Import that IMG file into the virtual disk you created with your VM in step 1.
    cd ..
    xe vdi-import uuid=<UUID of the 2GB disk created in step 1> filename=FreeNAS_x64.img

    This results in an error:

    The server failed to handle your request, due to an internal error.  The given message may give details useful for debugging the problem.
    message: Caught exception: VDI_IO_ERROR: [ Device I/O errors ]

    This error can be safely ignored – it did indeed copy the necessary files.
    Note: To obtain the UUID of the 2GB disk you created in step 1, run the “xe vdi-list” command and look for the name of the disk.

  5. Remove the DVD drive from the virtual machine. From Xencenter:
    Shutdown the VM
    Mount xs-toos.iso
    Run this command in a command prompt:

    xe vm-cd-remove uuid=<UUID of VM> cd-name=xs-tools.iso
  6. Profit!

There is one aspect I haven’t gotten to work yet, and that is Xenserver Tools integration. The important bit – paravirtualized networking – has been achieved so once I get more time I will investigate xenserver tools further.